Movie weekend concludes with a solo trip to the theater to see this impressive flick. Ed Harris and William Hurt contribute their superior acting chops; Hurt in particular delivers an over-the-top performance that gets pretty funny. And Maria Bello delivers her usual hot mama bit. Viggo Mortenson, the protagonist, kind of watches it all go by without a lot of expression change.
The title has an interesting double meaning. One refers the supposition that the hero has had a violent past; the other lies is the more obscure use of "history" as an exploration of related phenomena: we see violence generated by many different situations and with many rationales.
On the other hand, it's pretty easy to watch it on the straightforward thriller level.